Out-of-hours service inadequate

SIR,

I write to express strong support for the stand being taken by the Braemar Community Council over the provision of out of hours medical cover for the area (Piper, July 30).

The community council suggests the emergency medical service proposed will be inadequate and ineffective with a service delivery point at Aboyne some 30 miles away. Self evident to rural residents one may feel.

As an individual and a pensioner I have made representations to the Donside Community Council articulating similar concerns over the very real difficulties of having Aboyne as a medical service delivery point for Alford and the surrounding area, especially in winter. The absence of any high profile positive action by Donside Community Council is to be regretted especially as the village is home to the largest doctors' practice in the area.

The public exhibition mechanism used the health board to advise the people what is intended by way of an out of hours service can hardly be described as a consultation process.

Consultation assumes a dialogue, a willingness by the board to acknowledge identified problems and their being willing to address sincerely felt concerns over the service provision they propose and that many have rejected.

NHS 24 staff (being the entry point to the out of hours service) will be engaged in a process of triaging (assigning degrees of urgency to decide order of treatment). It needs to be said that the user group most affected by the out of hours proposals are those who may well survive the trauma if they receive prompt medical attention. Whilst the second group, the close to dying and the dead may not care, their relatives are entitled to social care, concern and compassion. The third group will live until tomorrow even if no service at all is provided.

At present we have a situation where a reality tv show can bring forward over 1.5 million in an electronic ballot to evict a house party member. At the same time we have widespread public indifference to the political and parliamentary processes, especially amongst the young.

Whilst the public may be concerned over the out of hours medical provision most of our elected representatives are indifferent less they put their jobs at risk. Could it be they are unable to influence anything that really matters?

Yours etc.,

Barry Maycock,

Milton of Cushnie,

Alford.